Ramblings about baby stuff, yet again

(whoops, this is a long one. Come back later when you have time if needed) :)

My sixteen week appointment went well on Tuesday and apparently I've gained a total of six pounds now. So yeah, five of those pounds snuck up on me from week 12 to 16 but I suppose it's not that bad. I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't pop out of my skull a little bit when I stepped on the scale because I really didn't think I'd gained that much with my puny bump but whaddya know? I'm pregnant and going to see numbers on the scale that I've never seen before. Nothing like pregnancy to make you feel both proud and frightened of weight gain, right?

Also, I spent a better part of my appointment discussing the hot topic of flu shots with the doc. She made me feel a lot better about the seasonal flu shot and I went ahead and got one before I left the office. Of course now my arm hurts like a mug and I've felt very worn down and yucky all day but whatever. She convinced me with her 'social responsibility' speech considering that I'm in healthcare and exposed to lot more with my now weakened immune system that regular pregnant folks will see. (And for the record, washing my hands and being smart about health hygiene is a given either way since I probably wash my hands about 20 times a day at work....but there is still nasty stuff in the air and spewing in my face as a part of my job. Jealous, aren't you?) Plus, she tends to follow the guidelines of 'smart people' who do actual research like the CDC and the ACOG over hearsay on the internets. I'm still not sold on the idea of the H1N1 vaccine but we shall see....I compromised once and maybe that is enough for one flu season.

Hearing the heartbeat again was awesome and it's crazy how much my uterus is expanding. She found the ticker about half way down from my belly button this time and at 12 weeks it was a whole lot lower. And in case you are into the old wives tale about heart rates predicting gender, mine was right at 140 bpm. So since the cut off IS 140 (anything higher supposedly means girl and lower means boy) I suppose I'm out of luck with this one. Ah, only 4 more weeks and we shall know which private parts await us. Did that sound creepy? Sorry.

Enough about the appointment, the real reason I wanted to post today is because of boring yet necessary 'adult' stuff. You know, having babies isn't all about nursery decor, belly pics, dreaming of names and snuggling and baby laughter. No, really, there are some heavy-duty reality concepts to embrace even before little one arrives. The dreaded finances are a big part of it.

In the real world--one apart from daydreaming about smelling my baby's little head--I'm going to have to work after the baby is born. In case you haven't heard me discuss this at great length in the past, I am the sole breadwinner in our household while my handsome hubby attends full-time graduate school. Whatever paycheck I bring home is what we have to work with and let's not forget about my health benefits I hold for us---those are pretty freaking important these days. As a side note, when trying to select our benefits for next year we wanted to gather some price info on having a baby at the hospital. Maybe this isn't shocking to any of you but seeing it in numbers was jaw-dropping to me---easily $15,000-$20,000 or more in hospital bills for labor and delivery plus the hospital stay. Can you IMAGINE if you didn't have health insurance and birthed a child for that price tag? Makes me cringe a little bit even with insurance....geesh.

So yeah, if I decided to work just one or two days a week after the babe is born not only would we have practically no money but we wouldn't have health benefits covered anymore. Not going to happen. I knew this before we got pregnant and although I'm obsessed with the concept of being a stay at home mom one day, we decided that sacrificing that goal in order to start our family sooner would be worth it. Sure, we could have waited until Nate graduates (May 2011, baby!) to have a kiddo but I know we can make this work now and the old biological clock would not be ignored. Apparently we like to do things in unconventional ways in this marriage:)

I'll need to work full time to provide the most inexpensive health insurance for us and also to make us the most money, obviously. Currently I work five 8 hour shifts plus some weekends which is all fine and dandy except that we do not have the luxury of having family to watch our baby. It seems like almost everyone I know (or maybe it's just 90% of people at work) has one, if not two, sets of parents that willingly offer to watch the baby FOR FREE. If you are one of these lucky people in the world please give your parents or in-laws big fatty hugs in gratitude. My parents live 8 hours away and are not that close to retirement, still working full time. Nate's parents, although they conveniently live right below us, both work full time as well. Bummer on our part, right?

So our baby will be a day care baby. No, it's not the ideal situation but plenty of new families have to go this route. I can be level-headed enough to see that sending a child to day care is not the end of the world...right? Hopefully it's somewhat temporary and I'll be able to work less and less as Nate gets his degree and works his share of full time hours (right honey?) One problem: day care is disgustingly expensive. For instance, one of the places near our home is $57 per day. That is almost $1200 per month and it's not even THAT expensive for day cares. So much for our amped-up savings for a house, right?

I'm trying to get creative and figure out ways I can still work 'full time' but not 5 days per week....maybe four 9 hour days to give me 36 hours per week would be enough, then we are only paying for 4 days of daycare. Luckily my job is pretty flexible but I need to figure out what works best for our little family. And unfortunately it doesn't include me being a stay at home mom just yet.

So here I am, attempting to prepare myself mentally for returning to work full time and sending my precious babe to the care of strangers. Also trying to prepare for our bank account hemorrhaging in the process. But in the name of being Pollyanna, I can find some positives here: I have a career that is stable, that I enjoy, that allows me to make a difference in the lives of people. It pays well, it supports our growing family, and it's ONLY 40 hours per week (could always be more, right?) My husband took the plunge and is going for his goal career in grad school--which will in turn, make him happier and ready to contribute to the work force in a career he will love. How could I not support him in this decision?

I guess I'll just have two full time jobs: being a PT during the day and a Mommy at night and on weekends. Sounds freaking exhausting, doesn't it? I hope I'm good enough at both jobs, switching my 'hats' efficiently, without feeling too stretched.

Thoughts and advice welcome. And if anyone knows of a cute little old grandma who is just DYING to watch a newborn for a reasonable amount of money, let me know! I'd love a tiny in-home set up to begin with and will continue to search out all of our options.

**Update: Quad screening came back normal. No worries there, whoo hoo! I didn't think I'd hear back from the office for a whole week so hearing back after two days freaked me out a bit. All is well***


  1. 1. When all was said and done, I had $15k for just me, but I was charged $4400 for a room I was only in for 4 hours. I was in a regular birthing room and then got moved to a c-section room. If you have a regular delivery, etc. I would like to think it might be less $.

    2. Does UWM (or where ever Nate goes to school) have daycare that students can utilize? Just a thought. You could always try a small group daycare too. Those might be a little cheaper that the dreaded $57/day (or more!)

    3. Once you get into a routine, being a full time worker and a full time Mom, while exhausting some days, is not so bad. If you can possibly manage it, take the full 12 weeks that you are allotted by FMLA. I wish I could have, but the 9 weeks I did take was really pushing it. But, that will help you four establish a good routine that you can all be happy with. And babies love routines. For as much as we say Ryan was a terrible baby those first many weeks, we have never had a problem with him getting days and nights confused. Thank goodness.

    Just my two cents. :)

  2. I was a daycare kid, and I turned out great :) Yes, it is EXPENSIVE, but Angie has a good point- a lot of schools have really inexpensive daycare run by education or child development students.
    And who knows... maybe in a couple months you'll win the lottery and then you can be stay at home parents! :)

  3. I'm not sure if this would be possible but is there any way Nate can go to school just 2 or 3 times during the week? Maybe on the days you aren't working. Just a thought!

  4. 1. I'm SO glad you decided to get a flu shot! Not only will you be protected, but your baby will be, too, once he/she is born. And if it helps sway you, the H1N1 vaccine is made in the same factories by the same process as the seasonal. In fact, if it had begun a few months sooner, it would have been IN the seasonal vaccine and not separate.

    2. I went to daycare, and I liked it. We did activities constantly, there were other kids to hang out with, and it was all around fun. As long as you go with someone reputable, your baby will be absolutely fine.

    3. My niece is watched by a combination of grandparents and great grandparents while my SIL and BIL are at work. And she is the WORST behaved child I have ever met. Completely spoiled. She honest-to-God refused to walk for months (even when we all knew she COULD), solely because her Papa (grandpa) would pick her up if she asked. While it would save money, think of your sanity--you'll still have it, AND you won't get into any touchy arguments about the way they're watching your kids, or what they're feeding them, or how they're disciplining them... You get the idea. :)

  5. Hi Julia, I recently stumbled across your blog and have been skimming and thoroughly enjoying. I just wanted to say that as a part-time nanny for 3 different families (I'm back in grad school and double as a childcare provider in my spare time), I see different types of family situations. One family that I work for has the mommy and daddy working full time and they have the most well adjusted, happy kids (infant to young elementary school age). I know this goes contrary to the old beliefs about working parents (especially working moms). But their kids are great with other adults and really great with other kids. They presumably picked up these INCREDIBLY important character traits through daycare and through having other adults watch them besides mom or dad or grandma. The stay-at-home-mom kids from another family aren't quite as well as adjusted. That's not to say that they aren't great kids-- they are! They are just momma's kids. They cry the moment she lives the room, etc. I know one day they will grow out of it (I was a big momma's girl, my mom was a SAHM, and I moved on and grew to be very independent.) But I just wanted to tell you about the kids of the working mom. I know you don't need affirmation that you are making the right decision, but some positive empirical data is always assuring, right?

  6. Just a thought -- could you work 3 9-hour weekday shifts and 1 9-hour weekend shift? That way you'd only have 3 days of daycare and one day of "daddycare."

  7. I hated leaving my little one at day care too...and I had to go back to work a short 4 weeks after giving birth! Lucky for me, I found a church right across the street from where I worked...they weren't as expensive, but they also weren't as high-tech with monitors and such in the rooms that I could access online. But they loved my child...loved, loved, loved her. And about 18 months later, one of the teachers decided to stay at home herself, and she took my daughter with her. She charged with WAY less money and I had the knowledge that my daughter was getting LOVE as much as learning. Keep looking, and I'm sure that something will turn up!

  8. I'm not sure if this is something you have looked at, but I think some daycares charge for a full week whether the kid is there for all 5 days or not.

    When I was growing up, my sister & I went to a home daycare/babysitter's. She was cheaper than a structured daycare, but we still got socialization. You can check with the state to see if they have names of home daycares that are licensed. I loved going there- it was like going to my grandma's house. I grew up with the group of kids there like they were cousins.

  9. This is still something that i am worried about too. I have to go back to work, and our families cannot watch him either. We have looked into typical daycares but are looking more into home daycares because they are less expensive, i agree w/ pp that looking into the daycare at nate's school would be a good idea~

  10. I'm not one of those lucky ones who has family members to watch the babe while we work, either ... but I'm not sure I'd even want to go that route. It really can change relationships.

    Plus all those daycares have monster waiting lists, so obviously lots of people are using daycare! We found an in-home through a reference - it'll only be $700/month as opposed to $1,000+ at the centers we checked out. I don't like the idea of leaving my little guy all day, but I know it's what has to happen.

    And yes, UWM does have a daycare for students/employees' kids, you should check that out.

    Picking a daycare provider was such a huge stress for me - I wish you luck! Let me know if I can help at all. :)

  11. I'll be going back to work after the baby too, but lucky for me I have some great circumstances - being able to work 1 day a week from home and my mom taking Olivia 2 days. So, thankfully, we'll only have 2 days a week of daycare to pay for...at $180 a week :0. Insane, isn't it?

    And, if it were me, I would definitely do less days, longer hours if you can swing it. Of course, then there's the issue of finding a daycare that does part time. Believe it or not, not all are willing to...

  12. First time commenter, but I love talking about all things baby, so here goes. Can you work your schedule around Nate's class schedule so he can watch the baby sometimes during the week? That way you can cut back on daycare costs. My husband and I both work full time and we have a nanny and my kids (2 year old twins) are both normal and well adjusted. I also have a lot of friends that send their kids to full time day care and they are also just fine. It is really hard to go back to work after having a baby...no sugar coating that, but you all adjust and eventually it gets easier.

    You are definitely doing the right thing by starting to think about child care now. I would pursue all options...commercial day care, in home care and a nanny. You might be surprised that having a nanny can actually be pretty comparable to day care, especially if you are able to use a nanny on a less than full time schedule.

    Finally, you are VERY lucky to have Nate's parents so close. Even though they can't be your day care at this point, you have built in babysitters so you and your husband can actually have some alone time!

  13. First regarding the H1N1 vaccine - you can read some good info here: http://askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/ I heart Dr. Sears. He gives you all the info you need to make an informed decision.

    Regarding daycare, have you considered in-home daycare? It's a completely personal decision, but I'd be more comfortable with my baby in a situation with 4 or 5 other kids vs. a situation with 50+ kids. Plus, in home is less expensive and generally more flexible than a center.

  14. Just going to add to what everyone else is saying....going back to work after you have a baby just SUCKS but it hurts you more than the child. I got to stay home with my son for 2 yrs but when I had my daughter I had to go back to work full time at 6 weeks and I felt soooo guilty and was jealous of all those SAHM's but it is what it is. I have noticed that sometimes church daycares are cheaper. And also the at home daycares can be cheaper...and for some reason you feel a little less guilty because they don't have as many kids in most cases. I would just do a lot of research before you pick one because $1200 sounds ridiculous. Granted my daughter is 7 now but when she was a new born we only paid $200 a week...prices have gone up BUT hopefully you can find something cheaper. Best of luck and since this is my first comment (closet reader) CONGRATULATIONS on the pregnany. :)

  15. You might check around for someone like my sister in law. She 'baby sat' for much less than day cares. And I know several other people that have found a stay at home mom who was willing to make a little mad money for much less.

  16. Hi Julia,

    My sister, Ann, was a full time nurse in Milwaukee. Her and her husband moved up to Appleton about a year ago and one of the hardest parts of them moving was leaving the daycare that their daughter loved so much (Ann loved it too).


    Just thought I would share. My name is Julie by the way. Good luck to you and your husband. :)

  17. I guess I don't have any advice here... But just think of all the people in the world who have babies and make situations like this work. Obviously it was yours and Nate's time to have a child so you just know it's going to work itself out wonderfully. Keep the faith :)

  18. Thank you for all of the awesome advice and thoughts, you guys. I have considered a lot of them and definitely need to do more research. I think an in-home caregiver would be totally ideal but it's hard when you don't know of anyone through word of mouth. I have a little bit of time though, so I'm going to exhaust all of our options!

    As far as Nate's schooling goes, his PT program is set in stone and not flexible. He doesn't pick his classes, they are already set up in advance and usually 5 days per week over 8 hours in a day. Once the baby is born he will be moving away from the course work and into the 'clincial' stage where he's working out in the real world but still learning...and paying tuition. So we have no idea what his hours will be yet since it's all up to the individual clinics.

    I'm making a list of new ideas from your comments and am really happy to know other people have done this and their kids turn out well. Deep down I KNOW this will be totally fine but it's still great to hear it. Thank you!

  19. I offered to Erin and I'll offer to you--I'll watch your baby! I think that would be totally great, but just not sure how to figure out how to make it work.

    You guys will figure it out and make it work. People do this every day and many get by with far fewer resources than you and Nate.

    Best of luck on your decisions!

  20. We're not quite at baby stage yet, but when we are, we will be in the exact same situation. (The hubs is working on a PhD...I could have written that post...minus the whole being pregnant thing...) YOU CAN DO IT! :)

  21. So you're a physical therapist?

  22. Happy Baby! I just stumbled along your blog and thought I'd say HI... my husband and I moved to Columbia, MO last January (from Oregon) for his post doctoral fellowship. Made me laugh because I read somewhere on here that your family is in Jeff City and we are kind of in the same boat school/work wise. Anyhoo...I have baby fever, but have to wait a bit longer...i plan to live vicariously through you!

  23. Hey Hools! Your post sounds like me a year ago when I found out I was pregnant. We decided (since I returned to work full time) that Sophie would go to daycare and chose an in-home daycare. We (like you guys) don't have the luxury of having parents in town - mine in STL and Blake's in JC (like you!). In-home was not only cheaper, but we felt provided a more loving environment for Sophie. She isn't one of 20 children since our lady has a small group of kids and she thoroughly enjoys it - you can tell as soon as you meet her ... so we knew/know Sophie is in good hands. I guess it depends too on the facility and what you feel comfortable with..go on as many tours as you can at either facilities or home options and go with your gut. Recommendations are always great too (we got a reco to our lady from one of Blake's coworkers). And make sure you call references and check with the state to see if they have any complaints filed against them, etc. It's hard as hell - not gonna lie. But you can do it! Here is my kicker - thinking about becoming a SAHM come the end of the year.


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